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15 Cheap Tips for Helping Your AC Cool Better

15 ways to save big on cooling costsCooling costs can make a big dent in your summer budget, making it important to monitor your usage as the season advances. Improving the performance of your equipment can result in lower energy usage and utility bills. You may think that the only options for cutting costs on energy bills involve expensive renovations or equipment upgrades. However, there are numerous tips for reducing your usage without spending a fortune. Following are 15 affordable approaches to improving your AC's performance and reducing utility expenses.

1. Change Your Filter

A dirty filter will keep air from moving properly through your home, resulting in poor comfort levels. This can also lead to excess dirt in your air handler as the filter begins to degrade and buckle. A fresh filter should be installed before you start your AC for the summer. Change your filter monthly for optimum results.

2. Keep Your Registers Clear

You can block the movement of air accidentally or purposefully, affecting the balance throughout your home and affecting your AC's performance. Make sure that all registers are clear of toys, clothing and drapes. Verify that your registers are open and that air is moving consistently through in each space.

3. Use Your Ceiling Fans

A ceiling fan can reduce your cooling needs by making inside conditions feel cooler. A single degree of change at your thermostat can save as much as one percent of cooling energy. Shut the fans off in vacant rooms since there is no direct impact on actual room temperatures.

4. Revamp Your Appliance Usage Schedule

Appliances can add heat to your indoor environment, especially those that use heat. Adapt your schedule so that the dishwasher and dryer operate at night when cooling demands aren't as high.

5. Pay Attention to Opening and Closing of Doors and Windows

It may be inconvenient to shut the front door as you bring in groceries and return to your vehicle for the next load. However, the influx of hot air from outside affects your home's cooling load, resulting in more cooling activity and driving up bills. The effort to close windows and doors promptly is worth your time.

6. Seal Leaks

Air leaks can allow cooling energy to be lost and heat to be gained, resulting in more stress for your air conditioner. Evaluate existing caulking for deterioration, replacing it if you notice cracks or other issues. Seal new leaks as they are detected.

7. Supplement Your Insulation

If you can see the floor joists in your attic, you can add some extra insulation to the space. Don't overdo it, however, because your attic needs to breathe.

8. Update Window Treatments

Light colors and reflective backing are excellent choices when you install curtains or blinds. Your window treatments can cut the heat gained through windows by 30 to 50 percent. Since your windows are responsible for between 25 and 40 percent of your home's heat gain, the right window treatments can make a dramatic impact on the performance of your AC.

9. Clear Attic Soffits

Make sure that your soffits are clear so that your attic has sufficient airflow. A stuffy, hot attic can impact your AC's performance and your energy bill.

10. Review Thermostat Programming

Make sure that you are maximizing your system's performance by updating your programming to reflect your current activities. Start the day with a comfortable setpoint, programming changes for times when you are out of the house and for when the outside temperatures drop.

11. Upgrade Your Thermostat

If you don't have a programmable thermostat, your equipment may operate more than necessary. Gain more control by updating your controls.

12. Clean Your Condenser Coils

Your outside coils can be lightly sprayed to remove dirt from the coils. Dirty outside coils can add as much as 10 percent to your system's energy usage.

13. Don't Shut Your AC Off

Although an operating air conditioner uses energy, you can create more work for the system by shutting it off and turning it back on as needed. The energy needed to return a hot structure to a comfortable temperature may negate any perceived savings.

14. Radiant Attic Barrier

A radiant film inside your attic can reduce the heat gain of your living space by reflecting solar energy back out of the home. There must be an air space on at least one side of the barrier.

15. AC Maintenance

Maintenance ensures that your equipment is ready for summer. An air conditioner tune-up allows your system to operate efficiently and provide better comfort levels.

Get Professional Assistance with Your AC

If you are concerned about a lack of improvement in your home's comfort after implementing some or all of these tips, you may need the assistance of a Texas Air Comfort specialist. We can connect you with a professional in your community who can offer equipment solutions and home energy performance services.

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